No matter who we are, where we come from, and what our circumstances we all have much to be thankful for. Just for today lets forget life's stress, the fight we had with our relative, the antique vase the kids broke last week. Let there be joy in our hearts for what we have. It could be so much worse. Always.
I have a friend who battled leukemia when she was only 16 years old. She went through rounds of chemotherapy and had to deal with being a human pin cushion. She lost all of her hair, and most of her friends. She nearly died. She is inspirational to me, and not because she had cancer and survived, but because she didn't forget the joy in her heart. I'm not saying there weren't days when she got down or just didn't know how much more she could take. What I am saying is that she never forgot that it could be worse. She once told me that there was this little boy around 10 years old in the same situation she was in and his parents would drop him off and only came in once every couple of days to "check" on him. She also told me how grateful she was for having her mother there at all times. She knew that no matter what she was going through, at least she was here to fight for her life. She has been cancer free for 11 years.
This same friend was sitting in her living room 3 years ago when a tornado hit. She heard a couple of things hit the house and threw the covers over her head. About 2 seconds later it was over and when she lifted the covers off of her head, she saw the street in front of her. Her entire house had been torn to the ground around her, down to the foundation. The only thing that was not touched was the couch she was sitting on. The only injury she sustained was a gash in her head that required 8 staples. She picked herself up, waded through the piles of broken glass and memories and went off to find someone that might need help. She had lost everything, but she comforted those who had lost relatives and friends. This was in February.
May 30, 2007 I had a beautiful child named Michael. We brought him home 2 days later and were deliriously happy. Every day was a challenge and a blessing. June 30, 2007 we put him down to sleep and when we checked on him not even 2 hours later he was blue. An ambulance ride and 32 minutes after trying to revive him later we were given the news that our precious boy was dead. We both blamed ourselves. My husband locked it all away while I sat crying. SIDS - known to me as the "I don't know what happened syndrome" had taken my boy. They didn't know why, but he had just stopped breathing. The funeral was short. I barely remember what was said. I felt as if I would lose my mind. I walked around for months afterward telling everyone I was sad, but fine, all the while hoping tomorrow I would not wake up. That I too would stop breathing, to cease to exist. The pain was so great I felt like it would swallow me, and I didn't care. The only thing that kept me going was my sweet little 4 year old girl. I knew she still needed a mommy.
I am so truly grateful for everything I have. Three beautiful children, wonderful husband, and everything I need. I lived through the worst thing a parent can live through, and I've made it. I will never be the same, and I don't want to be the same. His death has made me change for the better. I appreciate things more and savor every moment with my children. I am a better person because of Michael, and somehow to me, that makes his death mean something. It doesn't make it good or fair, but it does my heart good to know he had an impact. I'm lucky to have gotten to hold him and get to know him for that month. I've met people that lost their child before or during birth... at least I got a month.
What about you? What personal obstacles have you overcome? What has made you a better, more thankful person?